Amber Cantorna didn’t date any boys growing up, but she didn’t think much of it. She had taken her purity vow and even sealed it with a ring– after that, she just assumed that God would simply place the right man in her life, at the right time.
Except, he didn’t. In fact, at 23 she looked back and realized why she had never actually dated a guy: she was gay.
She was also a devoted Christian (of the conservative flavor) and the only daughter of a Focus on the Family executive. This, understandably, created a personal crisis of sorts.
Amber recently began telling her story publicly, and writes:
“I knew I couldn’t just sweep this “problem” under the rug, but I was terrified. I was terrified that in studying and digging deeper, I might find what I had been taught all my life to be true: God disapproved of homosexuality and, therefore, He disapproved of me. Focus on the Family teaches that marriage is strictly between one man and one woman and I was equally as terrified that in digging deeper I might find that belief to be false. Because if God did indeed make me this way, I would become part of a minority that is stigmatized, especially in Christian circles, and that too would be life-altering. So either way, my life would never be the same.”
Realizing who she was, Amber began a long journey of self discovery, affirmation, and rediscovering her Christian faith. At the end of that chapter, she realized it was time to come out to her family:
“I was 27 when I had finally mustered every last bit of courage to have “the talk” with my family. I had been pondering, planning and praying for months. My heart weighed heavy and anxiety took my mind down every possible outcome. I knew, as the daughter of a Focus on the Family executive, the results of my truth could be devastating. But I had reached the point where living a lie was worse than whatever lay on the other side of truth. After much counsel, preparation and prayer, I felt the time had come to tell my truth. So on April 14th, 2012 I invited both my parents and brother over and we all took a seat in the living room of my split-level apartment. I told them the journey I had been on over the past several years and then, spoke the 3 short words that would forever alter my future…
Only in my worst nightmares were the consequences as drastic as what they proved to be in real life.”
Amber’s story is powerful, and one that I think needs to be heard.
We were honored to have her as a guest on That God Show for our most recent episode, where Amber tells her story in full detail. To her love for God, the heartbreak of being abandoned by family, the healing that took place in a welcoming church, and the love she now has for her wife, Clara, Amber is someone who will inspire you.
She certainly inspired us.
Catch the full episode, here!
You can also get this episode and more by subscribing to That God Show in iTunes, here.
To follow Amber, you can like her FB page or visit her website.
Just one more reason (there are already plenty) to shun Focus on the Family.
Amber is strong and I hope her parents come around.
I’m very glad that she didn’t resolve all this by suicide, which the route L. Ron Hubbard’s poor LGBT son ended up at. I hope she finds peace throughout her life.
What are these “family values” anyway? J. Edgar Hoover once saw the American suburban family as a “bulwark” against the Nazis, then the Soviet Communists. Baloney! The family, as we usually conceive it, is too small to hold out against much of anything, never mind existential threats like Hitler’s — or, right now, the Donald’s. It is almost as small and weak as the individual; without corporate-provided wealth or connections, it will fold like a house of cards.
An additional, Gospel-based objection to the family is the lack of patience with family ties shown by Jesus. “‘For, whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven, that is my brother, and my sister, and my mother,'” as a direct rebuke to his literal mother and brothers (Matt. 12:50). “He said to another, ‘Follow me;’ and the man replied, ‘Lord, let me go first and bury my father.’ But Jesus said, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, and as for you, go and announce the Kingdom of God.'” (Luke 9.59,60) “‘If someone comes to Me, and hates not his father, mother, [spouse], children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.'” (Luke 14:26)
Sorry, but it’s all in there! And I can cite a few more examples. The point of these is not absolute hatred or rejection of blood relatives; it’s merely to say that bigger things must come before the personal agendas we have wrapped up in the teddy-bear fur of our personal relationships. We treat housemates too much like possessions, and we allow our personal wants to blot out the rest of Creation.
Though, I’ll be cursed forever if I disregard real moral debts to those near and dear to me — because those obligations DO exist! There is still such a thing as common decency, for near and far, and for people of ANY belief or unbelief.
But worst of all is the obvious moral failing of Daddy Cantorna in rejecting this daughter of his. Disagreeing with her on the place of GLBT’s in church is all very well, but I would have just prayed for patience and wisdom and tried to live with these differences, the way Roger Williams decided to live amicably with the thoroughly un-Christian Narragansett people as nearby neighbors and buy their land at a fair price, letting God be the judge of them all. Being disappointed is understandable, if you subscribe to those conservative views, but I wouldn’t dream of turning my child away like this. It demonstrates a sheer disloyalty and a lack of compassion. *Compassion being most of the law laid down by our Messiah.*
On this point, FOTF fails completely to promote family values of any kind, “Christian” or pagan.
The father chose perception over reality, and ideology over reality.
What a pitiable person he is…
I couldn’t imagine being gay and remaining religious. I’m so “blessed” to be rid of the superstitious dogmatic BS. I do know that my own “Holy Matrimony” ended dramatically and painfully in a lawyers office. There is absolutely no reason to pack a bunch of ridiculous excess baggage into the commitment that two people make to each other – nor to pretend that their commitment means less because they are homosexual. Good luck to the couple.
Parenting fail. Hope Amber’s life exceeds her wildest expectations, and her parents, I hope they realize what was lost (or thrown away) can be found.
A prodigal daughter in their future is my prayer for the parents.